The wife and daughters of Dr. William Petit Jr. were murdered by two men who broke into their home early Monday morning, about three o’clock AM, on July 23rd. Dr. Petit’s wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, was killed by asphyxiation from strangulation. Their daughters Hayley, age seventeen, and Michaela, age eleven, died from smoke inhalation when their home was set on fire in an effort to cover tracks and destroy evidence. Dr. William Petit, age fifty, was assaulted, suffered serious injury, and admitted to hospital. He has since been released.
Joshua Komisarjevsky, age twenty six, and his accomplice Steven Hayes, age forty four, were charged with aggravated sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping, injury to children, larceny, and, according to Connecticut state police, have more charges pending. The prosecutor wants to gather as much evidence as possible before pursuing capital felony charges. If convicted, the two career criminals will be facing death by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Both Mr. Komisarjevsky and Mr. Hayes have extensive criminal records. Both were out of prison on parole when they broke into the Petit’s home. In their effort to get away from the crime scene, the two used the Petit’s Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle to ram a police cruiser. Mr. Komisarjevsky family home is relatively close to the Petit’s house. Mr. Hayes lived approximately forty minutes away.
I extend my deepest sympathies to Dr. Petit and his family. The two perpetrators of this gruesome crime deserve nothing but the harshest penalty from the law. But I have to ask where are all the questions regarding the choice of music that influenced Mr. Komisarjevsky and Mr. Hayes listen to become career criminals?
If the perpetrators of these horrible crimes were black we would spend a considerable amount of our collective finger pointing at the culture of hip-hop and rap as a major source of evils for the black community. The idea of societal pressures contributing to the development of criminal behavior in the black community is a ridiculous proposition for a lot of people. But these same carefully selected pundits wouldn’t hesitate to swear on the life of their children that what is superficially marketed as urban culture is the root of black the community’s problems.
So it would only be a logical assumption that in this corporate culture that many people believe to be free of any racial bias that someone in the media would eventually make the connection that people in the white community do crime because they are inspired by the violence promoted in country music or some derivative of rock or acid punk music.
I have to confess that I’m not much of a country music fan. The number of country songs I can name off the top of my head you could probably count on one hand. But I do know that a song like Johnny Cash’s Folsom County Blues talks about how a fictional character in Folsom prison shot a man just to watch him die. I’m not even remotely familiar with groups like Limp Bizkit or Rage Against the Machine. But their reputation for promoting less than wholesome behavior in their lyrics and to their fan base may be indicative of problems within the white community.
Yet no one ever connects the dot of country or rock music to the behavior of young or impressionable white people as aggressively as the process for which hip-hop music is propagandized to have such a negative influence on young or impressionable black people. Michael Vick has been indicted for his participation in the alleged dog fighting activity on his rural Virginia property. It hasn’t been twenty four hours and already people are making the link between his behavior and rap videos. Mr. Komisarjevsky and Mr. Hayes have been caught by police with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar and I have yet to witness a single query into their music interest.
People understand that there are many factors in the perverse behavior of Mr. Komisarjevsky and Mr. Hayes. No one would say that the superficial culture marketed as country or rock, videos or apparel, is the root of all the problems with white people who make the conscious choice to become career criminals. If we truly lived in a racially equal society, for every headline that promotes propaganda something along the lines of “Hip Hop Music Promotes Dog Fights” we’d see headlines trying to sell propaganda similar to “Country Music Prompted Mother To Kill Her Babies” or “Guitar Hero Drove Parents to Fatally Neglect Children”.
A man is sitting in his home chilling in his garden without a care in the world. Suddenly some people burst into his home, jack him up, and kidnap him, his wife, his son, and his daughter. The entire family is snatched up from their home blind folded, thrown in the trunk of some vehicle, and whisked away from their home. After months in captivity the man finds himself in chains standing in front of a crowd of people he doesn’t recognize and is sold to the highest bidder. His wife and children are sold to people else where. The man is beaten and humiliated for not understanding. The pride of the man is ripped away from his character. He is no longer entitled to his religion, his family, his language, his history, or anything else he holds dear that identifies him as who he is. The man has children that are not his. His children belongs to the people that enslaved him or stole him from his home.
The man’s children’s children’s children are freed and are told to fend for themselves. His descendants are terrorized by the descendants of the people that stole him away from his home. The man’s children are brutally attacked and degraded simply because they are so obviously different from the people who control the wealth. Some of the children are hung from trees in sadistic rituals designed to instill terror in the remaining children. The children are given substandard educations, denied the right to vote, legally defined as less than people and are the subject of studies that prove their inferiority beyond a reasonable doubt. The children have to fight for the right to vote, the right to be considered fully human, the right to have civil rights, the right to an equal education, the right to earn a living, the right to just be. Some of the man’s children reach positions of success beyond the man’s wildest dreams. But so many of his children are kept in a state of subjugation in a loose conspiracy of employers, educators, law enforcers, legislators, court representatives, and the like who refuse to recognize the children as equals entitled to the same benefit of the doubt that the children of the abductors are given. And now people want to ridicule these children for feeling like victims in this elaborate system so carefully engineered that some children of the stolen man defend it with their last breath before they would defend their brothers and sisters.
As one of the stolen man’s children, you damn straight I feel like I’m a victim.
Everyday on television I see my brothers and sisters enthusiastically abused and beaten by police officers who could not give any less of a damn about the welfare of black people. Indeed, the welfare of the black community at large takes second place to their zeal for kicking some black man in the ass and exposing the public to massive and punishing lawsuits.
But then again, I watch news reports of judges who are incredibly insensitive to black people and our plight as they use their position to support the brutal and criminal behavior of law enforcement. Judges use their position to deny any attempt to correct racial disparity in schools and the work place by claiming it is improper to recognize racial disparity for what it is. After years of white privilege any attempt to reserve a small fraction of any resource for racial diversity is suddenly racist against the people who have the advantage in every positive measure of society. I’m still scratching my head on that one.
I am not embarrassed to say that I feel like a victim because I am a victim.
Day in and day out I watch this country respond to issues sensitive to white interest while black interest are deemed too difficult to solve because of logistics. It’s too difficult to get water, food, medicine, or any thing remotely considered as relief to thousands of people stranded in a single location after Katrina hits New Orleans. But let somebody’s dog die from eating tainted Chinese food and people have no problem getting the Center for Disease Control to do a nationwide episode of CSI: Pet Investigations. West Nile kills thirty people across the nation in a year’s time and you’d swear the seventh scroll of the apocalypse was just opened. But one city can have as many as four hundred murders and the only solution people can think of is to allow more private prisons to suck from the teat of the public treasury so we can incarcerate more black people.
Yes I feel like a victim and I am not going to be made ashamed to admit it. A lot of black people have every right to feel like victims. After the sordid history of black people and their relationship with the ruling social class in America I’m surprised anyone would even suggest otherwise. But the real question is why don’t more people feel like the perpetrators they are?
Oscar the feline roams through a nursing home for the elderly up in Providence, Rhode Island. Rumor has it that this cat has the ability to predict which one of the elderly residents is about to expire. When this cat comes into the room, jumps into the bed, and curls up next to someone, the staff waste little time trying to contact the next of kin. When Oscar pays his visit, the patient has only a handful of hours of life left. There’s some speculation that the cat senses some change in the patient, or that he can hear something change on some subsonic level. But whatever the reason, Oscar moves to comfort the patient in their last living hours.
Have these people ever owned a cat? I had a couple of cats and I loved them almost as much as I love dogs. But while dogs are generally the epitome of loyalty and faithfulness and would do almost anything to please, I know without a shadow of doubt that my cats would have eaten me at their earliest opportunity if they were big enough. I remember days when I’d walk into the apartment and I would see one of my cats crouching, getting ready to pounce, and then come to his senses as if he suddenly remembered that I outweighed him by about a buck seventy. Neither one of my cat would give me comfort if they found me on my deathbed. Chances are they would have jumped on the bed and start clawing me for not having food ready on time. So that theory about the cat offering comfort by his own free will is nothing but hogwash rooted in people’s child like desire to find some redeeming quality in these feline parasites.
More than likely, if Oscar is anything like the unfaithful kitties I’ve had a relationship with, there is a cause and reward effect going on with this cat and the expiring patients. Maybe he senses an elevated temperature or a subsonic humming emanating from a slowing heart or lungs or detects a sickly aroma that he finds appealing and the cat simply moves in to take advantage. Oscar probably thinks to himself something along the lines of, “Hey! This person’s about to croak. Better cuddle up so I can soak up some of that good heat before they buy the farm!”
The people who report this story find this behavior simply so amazing. Someone trying to be funny speculated that the cat finding people for the grim reaper. Someone else suggested that if their family member was at the home they’d make sure that Oscar wouldn’t have access to their family member’s room. I guess they’d keep Oscar away with a Glock. I can see the headlines now, “Oscar the wonder cat couldn’t predict own death”. None of these news reporting comedians guessed that Oscar may have been the grim reaper in disguise or that the cat was possessed by the grim reaper. If humans can be possessed why can’t animals?
But what is truly amazing is that people find the extraordinary behavior and senses of animals so difficult to believe. A trained Beagle sitting in the baggage claim area of an airport can detect a marijuana joint wrapped in plastic inside a suitcase in the cargo hold of an Airbus 380 right after it touches down on the runaway and before it can even begin to taxi to the terminal. A trained junkyard dogs dead asleep can be awaken in the middle of the night by the faint sound of someone climbing a chain linked fence on the other side of a giant industrial complex that would make the Boeing assembly plant in Seattle look like somebody’s quaint backyard.
People forget that when the tsunami hit that tore apart Sri Lanka and parts of Indonesia, Asia, and Africa a couple years back, few animals suffered from the event. While humans were being washed out to sea by the wave load, animals detected the impending disaster and ran for higher ground. Animals that couldn’t even run all that well managed to sense the impending wave early enough to lumber their way out of danger.
When you take into consideration how much we depend on animals to protect our person, our family, and our property, it really isn’t much wonder that the senses of animals are far more sensitive than what people are willing to give them credit for. And what’s even more important is that animals rely on instincts and good ol’ animal intuition. Instincts, intuition, and common sense are running in seriously short supply in the typical world of the American. Nothing means anything unless it can be proven scientifically in a study or beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of peers.
For years people didn’t want to admit that cigarette smoke causes cancer until it could be irrefutably proven in a court of law. A lot of people had to die before the truth could be believed. And now people want to do the same thing with global warming and other mischiefs caused by people. As long as “scientist” are on the take to say whatever some corporate entity wants them to say then people will claim the issue is too hotly contested to come to any conclusion. Years from now when the weather becomes even more violent and erratic than it is today people will finally come clean and admit that maybe there is something to this global warming issue after all. Hopefully it won’t be too late.
Animals don’t wait for things to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt before they react. They don’t wait for a grand jury investigation to know what they see is obvious. Animals don’t need polls to convince their peers of things that should be obvious. People with eyes pretend not to see, people with ears pretend not to hear, and people with noses pretend not to smell the stench from, the problems of a culture that refuses to acknowledge the disparity of people who are subjected to a constant barrage of subjugation in any and all of its various forms. Animals are too honest creatures to fall for some manipulation.
Even though Oscar may be a selfish critter he’s an honest one. He is in tuned with nature enough to have a reasonably good idea when someone is about to expire. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a cat that knows how to pay attention to its environment. More people should learn from his example. Just don’t let him sleep in your room at night.
I didn’t watch the YouTube debates when they aired live on television the other night. Everything I saw I watched on a review of the whole shebang on Anderson Cooper’s 360 just last night. Mr. Cooper tried to explain what I should think about what happened. The statistics from all the numbers driven by what other viewers felt and responded were drilled across the screen after each question to one of the participants. Barack Obama was asked a question and the numbers for all the candidates would flutter up or down. Hillary Clinton would respond to the question and the numbers would respond accordingly. Bill Richards said what he had to say about what had already been said and the numbers would turn again. And so it went throughout the night.
A lot of the questions from the people were focused on healthcare. Not surprisingly, a number of Americans are concerned about the American trend of keeping quality healthcare a resource that only the well connected are entitled to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for people to figure out that people without any medical insurance are concerned about health. But even people with healthcare made available through their employers are regularly being denied quality medical services for themselves or for their other family members. People are dying because the insurance companies and the medical providers want to protect their bottom line profit. This was an understandable issue for debate.
However, a lot of people were sending emails of questions about the American lifestyle that openly discriminates against our homosexual brothers and sisters. Personally I was surprised to see the number of questions regarding the treatment of homosexuals being selected by whoever was playing the question gatekeeper on the debate or on the debate review show.
But there was a question about homosexuality that struck a chord with me and my conscience has been vibrating from the thrumming ever since. I can’t remember the question word for word. I really don’t even remember specifically what the question was about. But the questioner made a direct correlation between the discrimination of black people and our fight for equal treatment with white people, with the discrimination between homosexual people and the heterosexual population.
I have to confess that I was offended. My knee jerk reaction was that the difference between the two forms of discrimination was like night and day. All people have to do is look at a black person walking at them from down the street and, consciously and/or subconsciously, people immediately adapt to programming from a half a millennium history of seriously negative stereotypes past down through generations. A homosexual doesn’t walk into a store festooned with security cameras managed by people programmed to automatically track their movements. A homosexual isn’t denied a job just because of their appearance. A homosexual isn’t arrested and harassed for walking in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time of day. A homosexual isn’t automatically relegated from living in certain neighborhoods the moment they meet the landlord face to face.
Just last week I had a job interview with a manager who was gay. The employment recruiter that was helping me to find a job wanted to prepare me for this fact. The hiring manager was a personal friend of the recruiters and felt this was pertinent information. But I have no problem working with or for anyone who respects me for who I am. But when the manager and I met face to face the man couldn’t keep his eyes off my locked hair. Next thing I know the job description changed right there in the interview and all of a sudden I wasn’t exactly what they needed at this time. However, more than a week later the internet description of the position still stands as it did the week before.
But then I realized I was indulging in my own version of prejudice against homosexuals. The man who ventured the question, and others just like him, was being unfairly treated by a society that sees nothing wrong with their public subjugation. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter the degree of subjugation that our homosexual population goes through. Here in America they are legally being prevented from being able to have their relationship with the person they love legally recognized by the government and openly recognized by others.
There’s no such thing as a little discrimination when a certain people are denied the same privileges as other people. The fact that there are people who feel that it is their right and their place to punish people who have a different sexual orientation than others is just as disgusting as the fact that there are people who feel that it is their right and their place to punish black people for their skin color. Bigotry is disgusting even if the person who is actually being the bigot is the victim of bigotry him or her self.
On July 7th, using a white Wilson Factor limited edition tennis racket, Venus Williams won her fourth Wimbledon Title beating Marion Bartoli in two straight sets. Twenty third ranked Ms. Williams beat the second seed Maria Sharapova, the fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, and the sixth seed Ana Ivonavic, and a number of other players to win the title. A number of people had written Ms. Williams off as a has been, but the twenty seven year old from Lynwood, California made a lot of people chomp on their gloomy forecast of her career and her skills.
I was reading about Ms. Williams’ achievement in a story on the internet’s Yahoo! News. The story included a brief interview with Ms. Williams’ boyfriend, pro golfer Hank Kuehne, who was very supportive and proud of his woman. I can’t remember what he said exactly. But, once I read Ms. Williams had a boyfriend, I suddenly had the urge to look up who this guy was. That’s not quite true and I should confess that I suddenly had the urge to look the man up to see what race he was. I had suspected that the man was white. I don’t follow golf but if there was a black golfer, especially one dating Venus Williams, I would like to think that I would have heard about him by now. But my suspicions were confirmed when I found his picture.
A number of high profile young black celebrities do little to hide and a lot to promote their preference for an interracial relationship. This phenomenon should be no surprise considering how many black celebrities do their best to distance themselves from the blackness. These days, to call someone with an obvious elevated melatonin count as black could result in a civil suit for slander or libel for defamation of character.
Ask an obviously black celebrity a question like, what kind of impact do you feel your example makes on the black community? A typical response may go something like, Well my mother was only ninety two percent black. My mother’s grandmother’s father was half white so that makes me three percent Caucasian. I’d like to ignore the fact that his other half was Mexican. My father was black but he was adopted by a Japanese woman and an Irish man when his mother, their maid, passed. So technically, by association, the fourteen years he spent in their household was good for a six percent association a piece so if you divide their input by two and correlate the remainder against the obvious, but yet to be proven, black majority of heritage and you’ll see I have a great deal of marketability to a number of different races. If those black children see me as a role model I really must say that I don’t want to be considered a, quote unquote, “black” (raise hands to make sure you visually add quotations to the speech) celebrity. Also, I must add that my mother was propositioned by a man from the Philippines once who looked like he was from Tibet. So to summarize, I think I have appeal to virtually every race on the planet. I like to think of my self as a Causianblajapirishtibetian.
Some people look at black celebrities who are able to shed the stigma of being obviously black and commend them for their success at adopting a more generic persona that has appeal for people of all races, not just, quote unquote, “black” people. However, this is more of the subtle negative programming that goes into being a black person in America. Black people have been programmed to believe in order to be truly successful one must reject the black neighborhood, the black community, the black history, the black condition, and now the blackness we see in the mirror. I understand how people may want to do whatever they can to keep their marketability as high as possible to earn as much as financially possible. But a number of black people have been able to do very well for themselves and keep their overall public appeal without doing anything to reject or minimize their African ancestry. History is chock full of black actors, singers, athletes, business people, and others who managed to keep their obvious racial integrity intact without succumbing to the need to deny who they are and where they come from. And very few white celebrities come out and say things like, Well my daddy’s mother’s father was one third black so technically I have appeal to everybody. White celebrities automatically have their mass appeal without doing their genealogy speech.
And whether or not these obviously black celebrities realize it or not they are teaching impressionable people and children in the black community to dump that African baggage at their earliest opportunity. A lot of people watch and learn from their example on how to deny their ancestry. And a lot of black people who suffer from the condition of not liking or appreciating their blackness are more than happy to follow their playbook and assimilate into the generic American culture while rejecting their African culture. They may choose only to date other races or they may choose to minimize or even deny their heritage. Some may go so far as to call themselves mutts or a Cablinasian. More than likely they would welcome the chance to be an Anythingbutblackian.
District Judge Frank Marullo acquitted former police officer Robert Evangelist in the excessive beating of Robert Davis during an arrest in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The judge watched the taped recording made by an Associated Press News crew of the incident and came to the conclusion that the tape showed, without question, that the authorities didn’t use excessive force. And the assumption is that the trumped up charges that Mr. Davis was drunk and disorderly were just conveniently ignored. Mr. Davis required some pretty extensive medical attention from this altercation. According to Dr. Frances Smith, who treated Mr. Davis in the emergency room, he had suffered facial fractures. Mr. Marullo suggested that Mr. Davis could have stopped the entire altercation if he just put his hands behind his back. The tape records one of the officers saying put your hands behind your back. The tape also clearly records Mr. Davis saying, let me go and I will. It’s hard to put your hands behind your back when people are holding them and beating you in the process.
Mr. Marullo is under the opinion that the only reason the sixty six year old Mr. Davis’ suffered from his injuries was because he was obviously resisting arrest and should have simply allowed the police officer to do whatever as he apprehended Mr. Davis. The police report contends that Mr. Davis started the confrontation after police stopped him on suspicion of being drunk. Mr. Davis was booked on suspicion of public intoxication but was never charged.
Mr. Davis testified that he was headed to buy cigarettes when he asked a police officer what time a curfew took effect that night. But before the officer could answer, another officer cut him off. Mr. Davis recalled making a comment about the unprofessional behavior of the officers and started to walk away. Moments later, an officer grabbed him from behind, threw him against a wall, punched him in the face, and made a racist remark.
Mr. Marullo contends that Mr. Davis could have avoided excessive battering if he would have just succumb to whatever the officer wanted to do. Maybe it’s just me, but if anyone is grabbed from behind, thrown against a wall, and punched in the face, it would be reasonable for the person to make the assumption that their person is in danger. Chances are very good that the human instinct of self preservation will kick in and the person being attacked will automatically try to defend themselves.
Of course this is only Mr. Davis’ interpretation of the incident. According to the cops Mr. Davis was behaving drunk and disorderly. But we do know that Mr. Davis was not drunk so its quite possible that the officers were, at best, mistaken or, at worst, liars. Given this fact, it is quite possible that the officers were further mistaken and Mr. Davis was not disorderly as well. And despite what police officers may try to sell as just part of a day’s work, a suspect should never come into the jail house with facial fractures resulting from being arrested. When the officers were confronted by Richard Matthews, a white journalist, another officer demonstrated his public hostility by jabbing his finger into the journalist’s chest while pushing him up against an automobile.
Now Mr. Davis wants to give the officers and the judicial system the benefit of doubt and contend that the officers were not being racist. I respectfully differ though. One of the few black people able to return to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, the police officers made their choice to vent their pent up frustrations and negative emotional exhaustions on Mr. Davis who happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. Mr. Davis was the victim of the prejudice of police officers who obviously don’t think very highly of African Americans. And Mr. Davis was also the victim of prejudice from a judicial system that doesn’t think highly of African Americans.
This is the same judicial system that was willing to let Paris Hilton go home to house arrest in her playgirl mansion because she had the unprecedented and awful preexisting condition of claustrophobia. Her constitution was simply too delicate to tolerate being behind bars. At the same time, women in prison who are pregnant, probably one of the most delicate conditions for any human being, are routinely giving birth without missing a day behind bars.
And let’s not forget Scooter Libby who just a couple weeks ago received a commuted sentence from the President who was to have benefited from Mr. Libby’s crime. Having Mr. Libby spend a single day in jail was simply too excessive from the President’s perspective even though Mr. Bush wouldn’t lift a finger to save even retarded people from the murder machine called the Texas judicial system.
Mr. Davis can give the system the benefit of his doubt if he wants. However, it is obviously his prerogative. But it is also obvious that Mr. Davis can consider himself one of the latest African Americans to fall victim of a prejudicial legal system marketed to mainstream America as fair and just.
Who doesn’t know that the National Basketball Association is suffering one of its greatest crises in its history? Tim Donaghy has surrendered his officious shirt of vertical black and white stripes and should be donning one with the horizontal kind with matching trousers and the ball and chain accessory. By most opinions, we are in the very early stages of the ripple effect throughout the league from referee Mr. Donaghy and his proclivity for gambling. Mr. Donaghy enjoyed a fancy BMW and a brand new house just off the greens of a country club in Philadelphia suburb. The lavish lifestyle for someone living off of a NBA official’s salary obviously was not a big enough clue. The league likes to promote its diligence for monitoring its officials to make sure they are on the up and up.
But for all its competence the NBA had no clue about their wayward referee until the Federal Bureau of Investigations dropped a report on their desk fingering the Don. The FBI itself stumbled upon Mr. Donaghy by accident from their work on a much broader organized crime investigation. The NBA has procedures and processes, checks and crosschecks for grading officials after each game and making sure their performance doesn’t waver from the norm in order to assure the integrity of the game. But with the advantage of hindsight, an independent analysis of Mr. Donaghy’s performance shows some disturbing trends. Never mind the fact that Mr. Donaghy was one of the referees officiating the game between the Indiana Pacers at the Detroit Pistons back in November of 2004 when the biggest fight in NBA history broke out between the two teams and some of the fans. Now, there is little excuse for professional basketball players who make the choice to brawl on the court, especially not with fans. But it is quite possible that the entire disgraceful altercation may have been avoided had the officiating been honest and on the level. Frustrated players, being fouled and not getting the call compounded by them doing their best to play the game and getting called for fouling, may have had contributing factors for their boiling blood that particular night.
According to Pregame.com, a website devoted to helping visitors with betting information, there’s statistical evidence to show some interesting anomalies with Mr. Donaghy’s officiating performance. The teams officiated by Mr. Donaghy for the past two years scored more points than expected by the Las Vegas sports books fifty seven percent of the time. In the two seasons prior to this time frame, it only happened forty four percent of the time. The thirteen percent difference may not sound like much at first glance. But, according to R. J. Bell, the president of Pregame.com, the changes in the statistics “would not have happened without an outside factor.”
Mr. Donaghy was working the Miami Heat at the New York Knicks game back in February when the Knicks shot thirty nine free throws to the Heat’s eight. Technical fouls were called on Heat’s coach Pat Riley and assistant Ron Rothstein, and the Knicks won by six points when they were favored to win by four and a half. The only reason all these statistics stand out now is the advantage of retrospection on the exact place to look now that the cat is out the Don’s bag. Kind of like looking at the obviousness of a prediction from Nostradamus after something happens that just so happens to fit into one of his predictions.
Understandably NBA commissioner David Stern is taking pains to be proactive and minimize the impact of the Don. Video tapes of Mr. Donaghy’s games will be reviewed with fine tooth combs. The big question is will these be the same combs that reviewed the performance of all those officials after all their games that have evaded detection for all this time? Everyone says this is a stain of the face of professional basketball. Kind of like the quickly spreading stain of blood on a victim’s white shirt after he or she receives a quick tap-tap straight into the heart from the muzzled pistol of a professional hit man.
Now, the commissioner has always been concerned about the NBA’s image. Mr. Stern was so concerned about the image of basketball becoming too urban because so many players were dressing in the style of popular hip-hop culture. The image of the NBA was obviously becoming too black for Mr. Stern’s taste and steps were implemented for the players to cleanup their act and abide by a more professional, corporate image with suits and such. While the image of hooliganism was being proactively countered by the basketball commissioner, the actual hooliganism of Mr. Donaghy, and quite possibly other officials within the league, was being ignored. It turns out that the image of a hip-hop culture infusing itself into the NBA was the least of Mr. Stern’s problems. It was easy to point to the players and say that they’re acting too black or not acting white enough. But, the corrupt culture fueled by good old fashioned American greed appears to have been the far more pressing crisis.
People look at the NBA players, many of them are black, and assume them to be thuggish, brazen, and brash. But as it turns out the biggest thug was a little white man who was in charge of everything the fans saw. It turns out that professional basketball is more like American culture than anybody would have given it credit for.
It is a fact of human biology that we are intended to only eat so much food before our brain registers with a signal that we have had our fill. The exact biomechanics associated with this process are a bit too complex to cover here. But normally, as we eat our meal, we should come to the realization that we don’t need to eat anymore because we are full.
Unfortunately, there is a growing phenomenon where people are not recognizing the nerve impulses that are trying to send the message to put the fork down. For some reason or another, people continue to eat long after they should have stopped. It might be training from childhood to clean your plate because people in China are starving. It might be that the eater just loves to indulge themselves in the pleasure of eating (trust me, I can relate to that experience). Regardless, most people who enjoy overeating need to indulge with caution. Somewhere along the line the experience of indulgence, no matter what the reason, has to be reconciled with what a person sees in the mirror and ask themselves if they like what they see. Just because some food is a good thing, having and eating all the food is not a better thing especially when there is someone standing right next to you who may be starving.
Most people would like to believe that common decency would prompt someone with an overabundance of food to share his bounty with someone who is in need or at least share information on how they can obtain their own food if they’re capable. But if food was a resource for making financial profits then all bets are off and it is every person for him or herself. Yes many people are more than willing to put themselves at a financial risk to help their fellow human beings. But the majority of people are much more selective of who they help. And for many people who may entertain the idea of helping others, help comes only when they can expect something of equal or greater value in return. Consequently, the culture of America for most individuals continues to grows into a very “no strings attached assistance” adverse society.
Not too long ago I saw a news article of how regular people are using a website to extend small dollar loans to people in third world countries. Individuals can submit a relatively small amount of money to a company that manages the loan, I don’t know for sure but I’m sure there’s a small processing fee to help cover the cost of the site because help don’t grow on trees, to people in Africa so they can purchase food, repair their homes, or get an education. The loaner minimizes their exposure to loosing their money and the borrower gets access to loans, providing that they qualify, and everybody is happy. Everybody is happy except the poor souls who don’t qualify for the loan because they are too much of a risk to be assisted.
Not everyone is in the same position to help their fellow man. Many people go out of their way to give the next guy the shirt off their back. Some people who appear to have more than enough money to buy all the tea China would rather slit their throat than give a nickel to charity. Between these two extreme opposites of the spectrums there are all kinds of differing degrees for the generosity or stinginess of the human heart. Some people want to give with absolutely no strings attached. Other people will give but only as much as absolutely necessary to obtain the most maximum of returns on their investment. And unfortunately, what some people are willing to do for some people they are not willing to do the same for other people.
It’s shouldn’t be too surprising. For example, what a parent will do for someone else’s children may not stack up against what they do for their own children. That should be an understandable difference. But the differences based on nothing more than the gender, race, age, place of birth, or some other trivial factor should not be so understandable even through it is a very common occurrence every single day throughout the American culture. And in way too many instances, the very people who are most in need of assistance are the ones least likely to obtain it.
The Sixth Sense was an extraordinary movie. The unique interpretation (at least at the time it was released) of the interaction in the relationship between the recently departed who may not be fully aware of the changes in their living circumstances, and the clairvoyants who don’t quite understand their natural gift or talent at their disposal and their responsibility to their community was inspirational for me. The very first time I saw the movie I sat down thinking I was watching a horror flick. At the end of the movie I had to change its classification to “fictional spiritual education”. With the entire story experienced and the ending busted, the next time I watched the movie I had a better appreciation for the movie’s relationship between the living and the spiritual. The scariness was replaced with understanding.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie was the conversation between Dr. Malcolm Crowe (played by Bruce Willis) and his wife Anna Crowe (played by Olivia Williams). Unaware of his untimely demise Dr. Crowe engages his wife in a conversation while she’s sleeping. The widow Crowe asked her deceased husband why he had to go and Dr. Crowe, as well as the audience, endures his epiphany and recognizes his true condition for the first time. While virtually the entire movie is spent focusing on Dr. Crowe helping Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment) come to terms with his ability to communicate with and his natural attraction for restless spirits, the climax of the movie happens when Cole returns the favor and helps Dr. Crowe come to terms with the fact that he is a restless spirit.
The Sixth Sense was released two years before I even knew about the spiritual system of Ifa. But I was intrigued by the movie’s perception that the dream state can be used to open our subconscious up to communication with spiritual entities. I used to think that conversations with ancestors, the Supreme Being, Jesus, Orisas, and other spirits while sleeping were nothing more than extraordinary dreams or movie production of the mind driven by the vivid imagination of the dreamer. However, while dreams are often the product of imagination or an upset stomach, dreams can be one of the finest ways to determine one’s psychology as well as develop one’s spirituality.
The major problem with dreams is in its accurate interpretation. The assumption that dreams are little more than the stuff of imagination is just one of the possibilities for dream misinterpretation. Unfortunately, the total dismissal of a dream is far from being the worst possible analysis. Interpreting a dream message into the exact opposite of the message can be far more damaging. For example: a person has a dream that they are drowning in money. One interpretation could be that the dreamer is destined to be able to swim in their money. But, another interpretation is that the dreamer is obsessed with materialism to the point that it is a detriment to his/her life. Unfortunately, depending on the demeanor of the dreamer, the inaccurate and the depth of their single mindedness, the information could be used to justify the single minded pursuit of materialism that the dream was trying to warn the dreamer about.
Psychologist, parapsychologist, and other scientist may argue over the validity of any claim that ancestors or other spiritual entities will interact with us whenever we need a course correction as we traverse our individual life paths. In their esteemed opinion our dreams are nothing more than our own subconscious doing its best to make its own correction. Maybe, but I do know that when it is late at night and the air is very still without the slightest trace of a breeze, the flame from a seven day glass candle that I keep in the room with me will start to dance back and forth, up and down as if someone was gently blowing their breath directly down into the glass surrounding and protecting the flame.
When I was introduced into the Ifa tradition one of the first suggestions I was given was to keep a candle by the bed as I sleep. The candle helps to detect spirits within the vicinity when they want to make their presence known. I was taken aback the first time I saw the candle flicker in the middle of the night and refused to stop. It is nothing that is as dramatic as what may be found in some stereotypical voodoo film. But regardless, the first time you see the quiet flicker of a flame in the middle of the night giving evidence that you may not be as alone as you might think can be a bit unsettling even when you know what to expect.
One should be very careful because enlightened ancestors rarely want to do anything that might cause fright and they may withdraw if they sense the buildup of anxiety. But if you can keep the chills at bay and keep your mind clear you may be surprised at your own conversations with ancestors that come in your dream. Just remember to make sure to be careful with the interpretation of any message that comes.
It has not yet been twenty four hours since the latest Harry Potter book was released. The television news reports are filled with Harry Potter stories from across the globe. One news report has it that fifty books made their way halfway around the world to Afghanistan of all places. Another story reportedly has some little Philippine girl committing suicide over a spoiler ending discovered on the internet. The hype has hit hyper speed velocity. I haven’t seen so much hype over something as inconsequential as this since a handful of weeks ago when the iPhone made its public debut.
The same script employed during the iPhone’s release is virtually the same script being employed now with this latest version in the Harry Potter saga in order to manufacturer as much hype as humanly possible without any regard to proper perspective. Television cameras show the long throngs of people waiting patiently in line for hours, even days, before the official time of release. The network entertainment/news morning shows do their reporting from outside whatever big time retailer that can benefit the most from the over hyped featured article of the day regardless of what is happening in the actual world. This is just the latest version of American culture where nearly everything we are exposed to is formulated to show the maximum benefit with absolutely no evidence of loss or pain. The way these stories are packaged and sold in our modern culture, the media formula has been sharpened to a point where it could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo in the dead of winter during the coldest peak of an ice age.
With all the hype and the oversell it should come as no surprise that there are a number of black people who are obsessed with the Harry Potter phenomenon. Yet nevertheless, I must confess to a great deal of disappointment to see black families on television succumbing to this latest pop culture propaganda.
I saw the first Harry Potter movie about a year or so after it debuted at the movies. It was probably on one of the cable networks because I know for a fact I didn’t go out of my way to pay a dime to see a fantasy movie about a young wizard and his young wizard friends. Through the entire movie the people I was watching the movie with had to explain almost every detail to me. After the movie was finished all I could say was, “Oh, so that’s what the hype was all about.” Personally, I just couldn’t get into it. And then someone suggested that I read the books to get a better appreciation of the storyline. Sorry, but in my humble opinion Harry Potter and his posse just isn’t worth the time investment.
Now the Harry Potter movies are okay for some people. But the Harry Potter saga happens without a single black actor or actress working in much of anything above a cast call role. The Harry Potter books, movies, toys, games, and any other propaganda associated with the phenomenon has absolutely nothing to offer the black community other than more of the stereotypical “white people are the only people who matter in the world” thinking that permeates every facet of the American lifestyle. I know there were a couple of black actors in the background to Harry Potter’s foreground. But I can’t recall ever seeing a single black actor being featured in any of the commercials or other materials of publicity. But sure as day there were black people jumping up and down in line along with their white counterparts adding their personal energy to and drawing energy from the entire artificial affair.
I have to confess to my own vices that continue the orthodox arrangement that black people are just the background specks to white people’s world. I have to confess to going gaga over Star Trek movies with Uhura, LaForge, Worf, Tuvok, and Mayweather playing second fiddle to Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Picard, Riker, the Crushers, Troi, Janeway, Archer, Tucker, and Reed in the foreground. Captain Sisko of Star Trek Deep Space 9, is the only black Star Trek captain regular, and the only captain who had to earn his captaincy promotion after spending his first year or two on the series as a commander. Yet I’ve seen nearly every episode of every series in the entire Star Trek universe at least a hundred times. I’ve never been to a Star Trek convention and I can happily say that I have never been caught standing in line to see a Star Trek movie at some ungodly hour. Nevertheless, I’ve done more than my fair share of participation in mindless, inconsequential, pop culture rituals. Even with the awareness of the problem, the conventional propaganda of relations between the races in pop society is difficult to resist.
It is hard for Africans in the Diaspora to find written entertainment that is truly African oriented. In the world of science fiction and fantasy the number of authors who are sensitive to the need to develop stories and characters that are ethnically accurate is truly woeful. I have to confess that I am only aware of the late great Octavia Butler. Ms. Butler’s stories are full of characters that are not just the typical, run of the mill, in black skin such as Lando Calrissian, Geordi LaForge, or Mace Windu. Take the black actor out of the picture and replace them with a white actor and the story differs from the original not one iota.
But there are plenty of Africans in the world who have the talent and imagination and skills necessary to write the next science fiction fantasy that takes the African world by storm. It just might be the young black person in the line waiting their turn to buy their copy of the next Harry Potter, Star Trek, Lost In Space or any one of countless stories of fiction that gets published or produced on a regular basis. The problem is that it’s hard for black people to focus on creating something for black people when we spend so much time enthralled in the hype of white people’s universe.